An Open Letter to all African Athletes and Sports Leaders: Athletes’ Rights and Compensation are Global issues

Braden Collum Photo

15 August 2019:

Dear All African Athletes,

Global Athlete would like to publicly lend its support to Nigerian Athlete Blessing Okagbare who recently spoke up about the need for enhanced athlete rights, training funding and general compensation leading up to the African Games, which runs from 19-31 August in Rabat, Morocco. Global Athlete will stand side by side with all athletes from Africa to ensure their rights are protected and there is no retribution for the basic human right of speaking up. We also stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Global Athlete Start-Up Group Member Akwasi Frimpong who has been an inspiration for so many by working to change the sporting landscape in his native Ghana and globally.

We encourage all athletes to use their voice. Remember, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities clearly states that all Athletes have the right to “Freedom of Expression”. Athletes’ voices will change the future of sport for the better – now is the time to join the growing band of athletes all over the world by standing tall and being vocal for positive change and meaningful engagement!

Dear All Sport leaders involved with the African Games,

The African Games are organized by the African Union (AU) with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC).

Global Athlete calls on the African Union (AU) to ensure that all athletes’ fundamental rights are upheld and that the AU sends a clear mandate to all African government leaders that athletes must have an equal say with meaningful compensation and proper training plans leading up to the Games and Championship. Athletes’ welfare must be at the top of the agenda. The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) must follow the International Olympic Committee’s words that Olympic Solidarity is there to help athletes from nations in need. It is time for the funds to be sent directly to athletes and not through third parties.

We also call on the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC) to ensure athletes’ voices are listened to and respected. It is a fact of modern-day sport that it is the athletes who bring in the revenues and, therefore, it is time for the athletes to receive meaningful compensation and not be left in a position where they have to beg for assistance. Surely, that is what fairness means.

Dear All Athletes going to the Games,

Global Athlete would like to wish all athletes attending the African Games the best of luck, and a safe and level playing field where they have the ability to express their opinions without the fear of retribution. We wish all athletes a successful Games and a lifetime of positive memories.

The athlete voice is a growing trend and is the inevitable direction in which sport is heading. Play your part by joining the journey for change and becoming a supporter of Global Athlete at our website.

Best of luck to all of you!

Akwasi Frimpong
Global Athlete
Start-Up Group Member

Rob Koehler
Director General, Global Athlete

Media ReleaseSam Doherty